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Smart Talk, June 26



Facebook fans


Though former Gov. Mike Huckabee is now far removed from his presidential run, he remains highly popular on Facebook, the social-networking site where members can, among other virtual activities, “befriend” their favorite politicians. Huckabee ranks number 5, a spot ahead of Mitt Romney and just a hair behind Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. (Don't worry Mike – considering China's 1.3 billion population, Wen's performing at lower efficiency.)   

Other Arkansas notables include Hillary Clinton, ranked number 2 behind Barack Obama, and husband Bill, who pulls in at number 40. Mike Beebe makes an appearance on the list as well, though he doesn't crack the top 100. With 2,192 supporters as of last week, he's just ahead of Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and three slots behind deceased Yugoslavian dictator Josip Broz Tito.


Go green; buy liquor locally


The Jonesboro Sun reported last week on the nearly single-handed effort by Ruth Reynolds, a 70-year-old Hardy environmentalist, to gather the necessary signatures to put a wet-dry vote on the ballot in November in dry Sharp County.

Her theme: Reduce greenhouse gases. Reynolds, who doesn't drink much herself, says  Sharp County residents driving long round-trips to Thayer, Mo., for hooch pump CO2 gas into the atmosphere. Local liquor stores would reduce emissions. She acknowledges that most of the 4,500 signatures she's collected are coming more from people who want handier booze than cleaner air. Her next project: solar panels for the county courthouse.


Watching the water


You can find the most interesting stuff in the legal ads at the back of the classifieds. Last  week: a post from Central Arkansas Water, letting bids for new surveillance cameras at the Jack H. Williams water treatment plant near Pleasant Valley (that would be the facility that includes the large, domed structure you can see from Interstate 430 just before the Cantrell Road exit).

Doug Graham, assistant director of source and treatment at the plant, said that the plant already has a digital video recorder and a number of cameras, but adds that the new cams will give administrators “the ability to see more spots.”  Graham estimated it could cost $8,000. The big tank, in pre-surveillance days, was once the site of a famous late-night dip by a group of students from a local high school. Water authorities were not amused.



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